3Sixty Insights #HRTechChat​ with Mike Bollinger, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives for Cornerstone OnDemand

Joining us for this extra special episode of #HRTechChat is Mike Bollinger, vice president of strategic initiatives at Cornerstone OnDemand and a member of the 3Sixty Insights Global Executive Advisory Council. Mike and I have a shared history. It was Mike who recruited me to Thought Leadership & Advisory Services at Cornerstone OnDemand, where I learned a lot ahead of joining Nick Biron to co-found 3Sixty Insights. As always, Mike and I engaged in a wide-ranging and far-reaching conversation exploring the outer reaches of what might be possible in HCM. Here are a few of the ideas we covered:

  • How the concepts of concrete and abstract HCM extend to the C-suite and the science behind left-brain and right-brain thinking
  • How these ideas challenge traditional, conventional notions of what business and work are for
  • What psychedelic HCM might be — i.e., the combination of concrete and abstract HCM that produces something greater than the sum of those parts and an expanded understanding of HCM
  • Why it has been a challenge to persuade employers to acknowledge the tangible value in abstract HCM — i.e., the value in how employees feel about their jobs
  • A brief detour into the origins of HR and how the lingering effects of its beginnings have limited organizational leadership’s scope of imagination as to what HCM is capable of achieving
  • How the massive disruption of 2020 catapulted us into a new reality where the employee experience, the macro expression of abstract HCM, suddenly enjoys a respect that will not go away
  • Why a deep appreciation for abstract HCM, more than a pretense, will be indispensable to preserving the meaning and purpose that humans find in work as artificial intelligence begins to dominate task-based labor even in the realm of exempt employment
  • The relationship between data, judgement, intuition and decision-making in leadership
  • Why Skynet won’t take over as long as we recognize that all managers must become leaders
  • How becoming organizations and institutions adept at continually re-skilling and up-skilling the workforce will be critical to ensuring that humans and robots coexist peaceably in the workplace, as a mutual benefit to each other in the future of work

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Brent Skinner 00:00
Everyone to the latest HR tech chat I have with me today, the VP of strategic initiatives at Cornerstone OnDemand. Mike Bollinger, Mike and I have worked together in the past. And this is a very special HR tech check to me, really looking forward to this discussion. Mike wanted to just take a moment here to introduce yourself.

Mike Bollinger 00:00
Oh, shucks, Brent, I appreciate that. It’s special for me as well. Yeah, Mike Bollinger, Vice President of Strategic Initiatives here at Cornerstone OnDemand. And I worked directly for our chief strategy officer in a variety of different roles, some of them being related to thought leadership, as well as managing our Cornerstone people research lab, Brent, and I go way back. So looking forward to today.

Brent Skinner 00:52
Awesome. Yeah, yeah, we’ve talked a lot offline in it in the past few months, especially around various ideas around HCM. And in you know, full confession many times I wished that we had the record recording on because it would have been a nice sort of really impromptu HR tech reality type of video, I think. But one of the things that and just thinking about where we can start here, because there’s so much we’ve you know, you and I’ve we’ve really sort of looked at HCM from from a meta standpoint, trying to find sort of a unified almost a unified theory for HCM, although I, I, the more we, we talk about this with all sorts of folks in the field, I don’t know if there really is a unifying

Mike Bollinger 01:47
for the HCM Singularity is that what we’re looking for?

Brent Skinner 01:50
Is Exactly, exactly. You know, that’s a perfect segue. We’ve talked about concrete versus abstract HCM. And I know that Cornerstone has some thoughts around that. And it’s resonated in the field with a lot of vendors and users. And maybe, if we could start there, what, what are your thoughts on that? Just, you know, how that you know, the two meats and what, what, what does it mean to you? So,

Mike Bollinger 02:16
and I know, that’s part of your research agenda, which I actually am looking forward to seeing come out. But if you remember the Okay, joke number two, if you remember, the second joke, it was, is that mean psychedelic HR, because the psychedelic notion is that you blend some elements of physicality and practicality with some elements of aspiration, and innovation. And so what I like about this notion of concrete versus abstract HR, is that both are necessary. It’s, I think you typify it as the left side and the right side of the brain where there’s practicality and creativity at the same time. But what I like about that notion more than anything, Brandon, I sort of harken back to those four or five years ago, Deloitte came out with this idea of the CHRO and the CHRO, right. And that both were necessary operations and that they suggested potentially a division, because the, the individual experience as an employee actually encompasses both sides. And so what I really like about what you’ve tried to do is you’ve said, Look, there are classic mechanisms, processes, moments in time that occur, but you’ve actually created a, at least for yourself in your framework, this element of that there’s a concrete and an abstract, almost everything that occurs in the employee experience.

Brent Skinner 03:40
Yeah, that’s a great encapsulation. You know, what’s interesting is just kind of going down the line of HCM, everything that’s related to HCM payroll, which is possibly you know, you cannot employ someone without paying them, right, that is possibly the most,

at least not me.

Brent Skinner 04:02
Not me there being possibly, I would say the most fundamental basic element of HCM and the most concrete, you know, at least for at first blush, but if you think about it, this x, it could actually be the most abstract element of HCM to in a way because it really it affects that employee so emotionally it’s such a such a deep psychological level when the pay is wrong, or when the pay just isn’t good pay or if it’s you know, if there’s a mistake and the pay if you missed that pay, because you have a bad technology in place for it. For some reason, for some reason, there was a glitch, that can be huge ramifications that have nothing to do with the nuts and bolts will obviously have something to do with the nuts and bolts of paying the person but it’s a problem that’s so much bigger than that. It has all sorts of ramifications that cascade through, you know, employee might leave may not speak well of the employer after they leave and all this kind of stuff. So yeah,

Mike Bollinger 05:07
let me extend that notion just a little bit. So agreed. Okay. And but I have a couple of quick thoughts on that. The first one is, is As humans, we crave clarity. Okay. So it’s not just in the past, it was about getting the pay, right. But in some ways, it’s about knowing what the pay is, particularly if you have variable components or hourly components. That’s one. And the second thing is, is the experience that we all have now as employees 15 years ago, was just nascent when it came to things like self service and compensation statements in technology. So that’s an area where it’s grown. And I think a good example of how technology helped create that clarity, relieving the that level of stress that employees had around that very core thing. The other thing is, and I’ve always said, that pay is not a motivator, not enough pay as a de motivator. But being you know, being paid fairly. I’m paying more to somebody, there are other engagement components as well. But that clarity creates that that bridge to not having that deep motivation around pay. So you know, the three thoughts, yes, accuracy. Secondly, we have clarity around access that even 15 years ago, we didn’t have, and that leads to the third, which is, am I being paid fairly? And those are all very abstract notions to the engagement of an employee feels.

Brent Skinner 06:37
Yeah. And you know, what, there’s obviously an extension of that into, you know, current thought around DNI, right? And equity of pay and this sort of thing with that obvious connection there. One of the things that you mentioned that was really interesting made me think, is that it is the technology that is the technology that gives the clarity around pay, which lowers anxiety level, and this gets to something bigger around concrete versus abstract HCM?

Mike Bollinger 07:08
Well, let’s be real clear, though, the technology creates the window, but we have to actually open that window with our processes keep going?

Brent Skinner 07:16
Well, yeah, you’re right. Absolutely. And it does to take that even further, right, the ability of the technology to make that window opening possible is a motivator to open the window. Right. And so this gets to a bigger piece of this idea around looking at concrete versus abstract HCM from a from a wider lens, you know, go up, I don’t know, the 20,000 feet, maybe we’re at 10,000 feet right now we’ll go up to 20,000 feet. So there are aspects of HCM, which are, let’s call them traditional or conventional, or they’re perennial that they go back to the original intent behind each our, which was to manage some of these nuts and bolts, things around pay and time and attendance and all these sorts of things, operational things tied specifically to the management of people of employees, right? Well, the idea around that’s the concrete abstract debates. Yeah. You think? What do those? Well,

you might Yes,

Brent Skinner 08:25
well, okay, keep going? No, you have to write it in there. There is absolutely a Corona unnecessary chronology of events or a sequence of events you have to do you have to do the concrete Well, before you can really start thinking about the abstract. But if you stop thinking after concrete, then you’re really missing the boat. So the idea here is that once you get once you get that concrete stuff, right? A lot, there’s an attitude that has become entrenched. And it’s really, it’s nobody’s fault really is just this idea of, you know, what business is supposed to mean and what being employed is all about. It’s just what we’re talking about with that abstract element of HCM is it is an expansion of the idea of what it means to be employed and what it means to, to retain people and to give people a purpose at your organization, so that they will be as innovative and, and contribute as innovative as possible and contribute as at the highest level that they that they are capable because they’re inspired.

Mike Bollinger 09:38
That’s true. And I think the other thing about abstract HR is this recognition on our part, that we’re all human. And that yes, you have to do the concrete things like time like make sure people are paid, right? That make sure that the correct components for a compliance conversation. Regarding locality, or globally, if I mean, you know, Belgium, I’m doing 13.2 pay cycles a year versus 12, those kinds of things all have to be covered. But once you’ve covered those, there’s this recognition. And I think opportunity for us, as HR practitioners, to think about the human side of what we do, it has such an impact. And, you know, you think we’ve talked about it for a long time in terms of branding and all those kinds of things. But yeah, I forget where I read it. But there was really recently, something that I read that said something about the five rules that are out the window because of COVID. Right? Okay, standard office hours, nine to five, maintaining this constant oversight, not being a coach, but rather a boss and, and taking into account the managers themselves as part of this process. And I’m, you know, I’m sort of reminded of, of this conversation I had with a webinar was doing in there, we had a customer from Singapore. And he maintained that if people weren’t on video, then he didn’t know that they weren’t working, right. And so there’s this, this notion that as we’ve evolved as managers, as participants, and as HR people, we also need to evolve our expectation around work. And that’s very abstract. I, for one, have worked from home for years. So for me evolving into a work from home environment was fairly easy. Um, but I don’t have, you know, kids that are trying to go to school, I don’t have all the other pressures that maybe others don’t have. So I’ve already adapted. And so this notion that there’s this hybrid work environment, and that people feel anxious. And if you look at the, the Edelman trust barometer that comes out every year, people feel anxious people feel, you know, they’re, they don’t know, there’s uncertainty and so on. That’s an opportune time for us in abstract HR, to invest in our leadership as a multiplier, in fact, to invest in in the individual efforts around everything from the eye to understanding the employee angsty and taking steps to allow for variations in it. One last thought. And actually, the something we’ve put into practice as well, is we started, everything started to become a slam to slam meetings, and there wasn’t any downtime. So we started giving permission to have 25 minute meetings, not 30 and 45 minute meetings, and not an hour, and you know what it worked. So you have to start thinking from an abstract HR perspective, I think, from a coaching and a human perspective. And I think we’re starting to see some real forward thinking in that regard, particularly with a pandemic, people were making stuff up on the fly. And so there’s some real innovation going on in those areas.

Brent Skinner 13:00
And that’s what’s really interesting is seeing that innovation sort of starts to take hold, and some of the best practices emerging from that. One thing he said, that was really interesting is this idea. You know, there’s this, this abstract, it’s this abstract understanding that, hey, people, people are going to be fatigued, if they’re back in there and back to back meetings all day long. You want to give them some time between meetings. And but the, the solution to that doesn’t have to be abstract, it can be very straightforward. So, so a lot of lot of steps that HCM practitioners can take to address abstract needs can be straightforward, fairly concrete. Right. Which is, which is interesting to me. One of the thing that that you said, and I’m hoping that maybe we can expand on that there’s actually two things that that would be really interesting to go into right now. Still, one is you mentioned that that manager based in Singapore, I think it was, and if just sort of expressing that, you know, if my employees aren’t on zoom video, when they’re at the meeting, I you know, there’s sort of an assumption there, on his part, that they’re not actually really in front of their desk really working. Right. A I want it would be interesting to explore, because this actually gets into something else that we’ve been talking about is the evolving the evolving role of the manager what it means to be a manager versus a leader in an organization. Right, because to me, that attitude is obvious. Some of it was cultural, some of it is completely understandable. You know, your manager and your certain role and you have your own expect expectations from your superiors for, you know, your team to produce and maybe you have some concerns around that. Placing no blame here, but just in terms of evolving or rethinking your role as a manager and to be more of a, you know, what does it mean to be a leader versus manager are all should all managers really be leaders, this sort of thing a, and then the others will go ahead and not okay.

Mike Bollinger 15:16
Thanks for it. And I love I love this topic a lot. Because I’ve always said managers have a multiplier effect managers the multiplier effect. The first thing though, we have to recognize is this two dimensional thing that you and I are doing right now. In this video, as an example, as humans, we’re accustomed to looking for facial clues and gesture clues and intonation clues and so on. And because we have sort of limited ourselves in this way that we interact, we find ourselves very, very fatigued, because our brains from a brain perspective are overworking trying to identify clues. So you have to give yourself permission to take a rest in some ways or others. That’s, that’s the first thing. And obviously, I’m speaking just to the work from home aspect of things, because there’s lots of other roles that are not like this, but from a work from home


Mike Bollinger 16:13
The second thing is, is back to the managers as what should managers be, there’s this notion that came out of K 12, actually called the self directed learner model. And the self directed learner model starts with various learning styles, and every one of us wants to learn differently. So there’s some where the manager just needs to say, go do these things. And that’s okay. manager needs to learn that that individual needs direction and next steps and so on. And it could be on a continuum of learning, it can also be just, that’s how they learn. Okay? The second one is, is where you involve them in the decision process. The third level, is I’ll send you the self directed learner model background. The third one is where you give them topics, and then you help them collaborate. And the fourth one is to go out and do it themselves. Every one of us wants to learn in a different way. And so the trick for managers is not be leaders be the trick is be human, and work very hard to understand all four of those models, typically three, most of us don’t reach the Nirvana of

self directed learner,

Mike Bollinger 17:22
and use that as a mechanism to engage the productivity of your teams, but do it in a human way recognizing the fatigue that can go on from this environment that we find ourselves in. I hope I took us in the direction that works for you.

Brent Skinner 17:39
Well, no, this is that you absolutely did. Because I actually was hoping that we would get into some learning points around learning like LMS content, that sort of thing. Because I think that to me, that that’s really where the upside a lot of the How will be put at the end. Probably using I’m probably making up a word for this is a known word, but I’m making it up influenceable. Yeah, right, right. Like what can we in terms of the upside of concrete as can be abstract HCM? Right? How much of it? Can we really influence from an intentional vantage point? Right. And to me, a lot of that is around learning. And some of the immediately a budding practices like around performance. I already want to stop myself from saying performance reviews, performance management performance,

Mike Bollinger 18:47
you know, check ins and conversations. And yeah, so it’s manager. So the self directed learning model came from Gerald gross, I just looked it up real fast while we were talking. And it has four levels, dependent, interested involved and self directed. Alright, so the dependent is really looking at the, and it started with teachers. But I think it’s situational management is what it really boils down to, I’m looking at the managers and authority or a coach that’s based on that style. If I’m interested in looking at the manager as a motivator, if I’m involved, I’m looking at the management manager as a facilitator. And so the real key here from an abstract HR perspective is investing in those individuals so that they can adapt situationally. I think that’s where real abstract HR comes in. There’s a fluidity, I think that’s a word. There’s a fluidity to what they have to do in their interactions with their employees that we can help with from an abstract perspective.

Brent Skinner 19:48
What do you think is going to happen to the role of the conventional traditional role of our conception of the role of manage As AI starts to enter the equation,

Mike Bollinger 20:05
so I always love to tell this story about AI. Okay? And because back when I was in school, my dad was the CFO of a very, very large company, I won’t give away the name, but I come home from school. And he was sitting there reading the paper, and I said, Dad, I gotta ask you. So at school, they teach you to do a SWOT analysis and look at the pros and the cons, but they never actually teach you how to make a decision. How do you make that decision, and I’ll never forget it, Brent, he lowered the newspaper, one eyebrow went up, and he said, you go with your gut. And then he went back to his newspaper. So as much as AI presents us with opportunities, and SWOT analysis, and pros and cons, and trends, it what it’s doing is it’s presenting us with good places, but we still got to have judgment. So that changes our skill set, we’ve spent the last 20 years trying to create a skill set around generating data feeding the machine. And what really is going to happen is we need to start making informed decisions and using the human aspect of our judgment. So I don’t think that manager roles are going to change, it’s going to flatten, but they’re going to change more in terms of collaborative discussions around outcomes, and less around that we get the right data in the system. That’s how I see the change coming.

Brent Skinner 21:29
That makes a lot of sense to me. I mean, you know, my think you’ve actually brought something up there that that’s super interesting. And I’ve thought about this in the past, and just in passing, I don’t remember the last time but but it’s come up is this idea of, you know, okay, we have all this data. I mean, you see this pervading across more than HCM decision making across pretty much house as a loop all the conventional silos of the enterprise, right? Mark marketing, right?

Mike Bollinger 21:57
supply chain is a great example.

Brent Skinner 22:00
Yes, yes, absolutely. And you need a lot of really good analytics and data around supply chain to the to be to be to be accurate and efficient. But one thing that’s interesting, though, is around this proliferation of data. And now we’ve gotten to this point where we’re kind of sifting through it better, and we’re presenting more actionable insight, you know, predictive, prescriptive analytics is kind of stuff. Okay, fine. That’s all great. But going back to what, what your dad told you that time is, is this idea of going with your gut, right. And I’ve seen in just the general chatter out there you see there at see it in articles in the sort of thing in the trade press where, you know, we need to move away from, you know, from that type of approach, we’re just kind of going with our gut, because you need to know the data, you know, you can’t just go with your gut, you need to know the data. And I get that, but, but, but to me, that also feels real dehumanizing, right, in terms of, you know, what’s, what’s the point of what I mean? So, this gets into the meaning, the purpose, the meaning in work, right? Because we were all working, we’re not all working just to make a living, even though we are right. But at the end of the day, you think about how did this whole system can’t come to be organically? And I don’t know the answer to that question. Right. But at the same time, there is a level of self gratification, there’s some satisfaction we derive from our avocation. And, and to what extent do we there’s I’m trying to say this without actually saying it, I guess I’ll just say it is how do we preserve the desire to work? straightforward,

Mike Bollinger 23:51
straightforward. So don’t miss don’t mistake to go with your gut. Well, my dad was saying was based on all the information, somebody still has to make a judgment call.

Okay. Okay.

Mike Bollinger 24:01
And that’s what he meant by that you’re informed, you understand. But at some point, your experience comes into play, given multiple options in choice, which is what data is providing us multiple patterns, multiple options, even in prescriptive analytics, it’s presenting a ranked order of outcomes. That’s what I meant by that. said, Where does that come from? I always call it the three eyes to your question. interest, influence and impact. I am absolutely going to like my job and continue to engage in it. If I have interest in the work, if I have influence over the outcomes, and I feel like I have an impact. And it’s those three things that continue to keep me engaged at Cornerstone as an example, that keep me continue to be engaged in this industry that we find ourselves in because I’m interested in it. I think I can have some influence that I know from time to time, I’m out Having some impact that’s gratifying from a human perspective. Makes sense?

Brent Skinner 25:04
Yeah, it does make sense. Going back to you made me think also about judgment versus intuition. Right? And what is, to what extent is there are those discrete notions. And it’s really interesting, because if you look at, again, going back to what your father told you that time, that’s such a great, great anecdote, by the way.

I know.

Brent Skinner 25:32
By the way, he was part of with the raising of the eyebrow, I think they

Brent Skinner 25:41
make a decision.

I think, what do you think about this? This could be this could be off.

Brent Skinner 25:50
judgment to me, is intuition informed by good informed by good data? Right and we ended here? Yeah, experience gives you that, that that perspective, for your intuition to be the right call based on the data that is available? Yes. So we have more data available now. So our intuition, if, if we pay attention to the data, our judgment will be, has a greater chance of, of being the right

Mike Bollinger 26:29
level of precision, right? The data allows us to make judgments in a more precise kind of a way. So I love your idea of intuition. Do you use the word informed, which is the word I had in my head? intuition is informed by experience in the precision of the data I’m being presented with?

Still a judge?

Mike Bollinger 26:50
Exactly. So that’s just human nature of work that I don’t think is going to go away?

Brent Skinner 26:57
That is a great segue. That’s a great segue. Because, you know, we’ve been talking, we’ve been sort of dancing around AI for a little bit here. We have this the, you know, the big elephant in the room, artificial intelligence. And you were sharing with me the other day, the World Economic Forum, report, I think it’s by 2024 2025 25. Yeah. Hey, dude, why don’t you elaborate on that a little bit, something, it’s around automation.

Mike Bollinger 27:30
So there’s a couple of cool things that are in there. And the first one is, is that they did it in 2018, and then updated it in 2020. Okay, big broad brush stuff, but still cool. And in 2018, they predicted that tasks might be taken over by machines in the 2020 report, they said that by 2025, machines would be doing more tasks than humans. And right now, 76% of tasks are human based. So the implication being robot to come in to take your job. But what they also said was that the impact of that could be the loss of 80 million jobs worldwide. That’s the bad news. But the good news is, is that they think it’s going to create what is it 97 million new jobs, that was 85 million loss, 97 million new meaning 12 million gain. And then what they did with that was they, they squared, the potential skills that are going to be needed, and they said, half of all skills are going to atrophy over the next five years. And of the top 10 skills that they had number one, and number two weren’t even on the report in 2018. So this notion that we’re in this constant influx starts to feel dehumanizing until you realize that it’s nothing but opportunity. And it’s the judgment kinds of things that you and I just talked about, that the World Economic Forum calls out communication skills and the ability to, to divine through data and come up with outcomes and the innovation and creativity that comes from that. So it to me it’s an absolute unique time in our human condition. Skynet is not yet coming. It’s an opportunity for us to be creative.

Brent Skinner 29:16
That’s right. That’s right. re skilling is absolutely essential, though, right now we need to get really, really good at re skilling right away.

Mike Bollinger 29:26
And upskilling people need to focus on strengths as well. So we did a report with the cornerstone people research lab, and what we found out of it was that it was on upskilling and rescaling. And what we found out of it was people were making an investment in it right that investment has been we know we need to do that as practitioners, as companies as CEOs, and employees were starting to feel like they couldn’t quite consume it. Even though investments were being made for a variety of reasons. We turned that the confidence gap the skills, confidence gap. But the notion of that is, as we all know, it’s coming. And we all want to adapt and adjust. And it’s a growth opportunity for all of us as human beings and the business knows it, and the people know it. It’s a shared mission. And to me, that’s the epitome of abstract HR. Yeah,

Brent Skinner 30:16
yeah. Absolutely. And it’s abs in, you know, and it’s going, like you said, it’s going to lead to a good place by focusing on this because we’ve found it, you know, not to get too science fiction here. But, you know, we’ve all seen the dystopian, you know, the sort of the, you know, the typical dystopian film out of Hollywood around artificial intelligence or robots. Right, taking over and you just mentioned Skynet. You know, it’s this big sort of, you know, I

Mike Bollinger 30:46
just want to transformer the first one with my grandkids, they’ve never seen it.

Yeah, yeah.

Brent Skinner 30:55
In but there is sort of this specter, right. And then this this in the back of everyone’s mind, you know, are we? Is there going to be any work to do? Right? And what’s that going to mean? And will we be, you know, again, this, some of this can be sort of like a, like a cheesy 70 science fiction film or whatever. But, but you know, what happens next? And, but what you’re talking about, around rescaling upskilling, this, this whole idea, that that’s that, honestly, that’s inspiring, that, that gives the human that’s to speak in broad strokes here, right, but gives the human race, right, sort of a hope, right? That, okay, we’ve created artificial intelligence, but it’s not necessarily going to, in fact, it probably won’t take over and destroy us, you know, we there’s a path forward. And we can do this. And we can coexist with AI, and still preserve the meaning and purpose in work for humans.

Mike Bollinger 31:59
So I had the opportunity to sit at a conference in a very small group and listen to Ray Kurzweil. And obviously, it was like, I’m not worthy. But this notion of charity, yeah, is still out there. Right? But no, I, I see it, look, robots are not going to come and replace your windows or fix your plumbing or do any of the Craftsman stuff. And so there are people who yield great love in the Craftsman work that they do. Okay, um, robots aren’t going to come within the judgment, decision making in the creativity processes that you are, they’re going to help augment. But they’re not going to replace that, in my mind. What they are going to do though, is we’ve spent a long time creating efficiencies and productivity out of ourselves from an economic perspective, by putting data into systems now with the advent of things like RPA, and other total technologies like Internet of Things, that data can be put into the system without humans doing that with a greater level of accuracy, next level of productivity. But what do we do with those things? And what do we do with the craftsman. And the individuals that are now knowledge workers that creates that productivity leap, so I see nothing. But once we come out of the other end of this pandemic, I see nothing but a huge productivity leap. And that’s reflected by several research pieces.

Brent Skinner 33:24
Yeah, that’s super interesting. And what we’re also seeing what I’m seeing from what you’re saying, but what I’m getting from this is that we’re moving away from obviously, we’re moving away from task based labor, just moving away from task. And task based labor is the easiest labor to as a business as a business leader, right? is the easiest type of labor leader asking me of work to look at and say, yeah, concrete, makes a repay them, take care of the time and attendance, all this kind of stuff. And, and, and call it done. Right. And so we’re kind of moving away from that. So in a way, this is all interconnected. As we move toward this more knowledge based and mostly stay with sort of the, the professional side, the professional, you know that well, we’re the white collar jobs, right to say that we’re moving to this knowledge based work and so that that that abstract element of eight, Sam’s going to become more and more important. And this brings us to one question I wanted to pose to you to make sure we get to this during the time we have is this idea of how do we get organizations today because a lot of what we’re talking about is still seems like it’s in the future. You know, even if it’s just four years from now, it still seems even though four years isn’t very long. We all know it. It’s just it still feels like future stuff, right? How do we get organizations to Day to start paying more attention to the abstract HCM when it’s when the concrete abs, excuse me, it’s gonna be when the concrete HCM is so much more readily observed as an accounting as a line in an accounting sheet or, or in the GL or whatever.

Mike Bollinger 35:19
I think there’s some of that, you know, Necessity is the mother of invention, right? Um, I did a recent little talk over in Asia Pac, virtually, obviously, Australia, in particular, where I used the what we experienced in the US is disaster because we have hurricanes here, we just had the, the critical winter storm in Texas, and we have disaster metrics that many other parts of the world don’t have. Because we have them recurring, we have them repeatedly. And one of those things is that visit, companies go out of business unless they learn to thrive and survive, and in an environment such as that. So necessity becomes the mother of invention, if I’m going to survive and thrive, I need to be able to be more in contact with my customers, I need to be able to prioritize the things that I am going to work on. To survive as a business, I need to be able to be planful in my approach to things, those are all creativity, those are all thought leader, leading judgment kinds of calls and so on. And, and don’t just minimize it in that regard to think about manufacturing, we have moved from manufacturing to lights on manufacturing, that’s knowledge work. And a lot of people don’t see it that way. Right. So, um,

Mike Bollinger 36:41
I think in some ways, you’re seeing this this evolve. I don’t know, I don’t see it as a revolution.

Mike Bollinger 36:49
I do see it as an evolution. And I always go back, I’ll close on this point on this thought. I always go back to Alvin Toffler and Future Shock. One of my favorite books that I read when I was a kid, is the world is going to be led by people who can unlearn and relearn. And so I think if you present yourself in that regard, and you become excited about the opportunity as an HR practitioner, and convey that to to the managers, as a leader, and convey that to the employees as an employee, and take advantage of it, I think if you take that approach necessity, comes from that mother of invention. So I don’t know that you can purposely just say, Now be agile. I think instead, what you can say is, here are the benefits. And here’s what we see coming. How would you like to have interest, impact and influence?

Brent Skinner 37:45
I love that. unlearn and relearn that right? We need to, we need to unlearn our sort of our original concept of what of the full scope of concrete dates. Yeah, maybe even right. Good thing, not not to do away with concrete versus abstract, because I think there is abstract. But if you think about it, maybe it’s all concrete, ACM, but we’re just we’re giving some of the stuff that we didn’t normally think of as concrete. We’re giving this other term just to get folks to start thinking about it. Who knows.

Mike Bollinger 38:20
But back to the opening of the conversation. Yeah. You talked a little bit about payroll error

rate? Well,

Mike Bollinger 38:24
I’m here to say as you are you worked at payroll companies, you know, as well as I do that over the last 15 years, we took the the error rate out of payroll, for the most part, still the occasional error, but we reduce that thing dramatically. Did we do that? No. Machines did that because they could process and put data in in a more reliable way. So you know, there’s that part of concrete HR, maybe we’re just ceding some of that, to RPA in the machine so that we can focus on the abstract nature.

Brent Skinner 38:56
That’s right. That’s right. Well, with that, I think that’s a great place to land today. This has been fantastic, Mike. Thank you.

Mike Bollinger 39:06
So five minutes are far ranging talk. Thanks, Brent.

Brent Skinner 39:10
is my favorite kind of stuff. Thanks so much for joining us, Mike. And I’m sure it will speak soon. Thanks for having me.



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